According to the Patient Protection Foundation, loneliness is "the biggest widespread disease in Germany". Not only the elderly are affected, said board member Eugen Brysch on Saturday. "In contrast to the last few years, more and more 60 to 70 year olds are reporting that they feel lonely."
It falls short when Federal Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) appeals to those affected to seek help of their own accord and to use offers such as telephone counseling. "Doing something against the growing loneliness in society cannot only be left to institutional providers," Brysch told the German Press Agency on Christmas Eve. "It is much more important that each of us is made aware of this common disease."
It is important to take personal responsibility and to have the "courage to speak up".
Christmas offers a particularly good opportunity "to give the single people next door a gesture of togetherness". That could be a greeting, a short conversation. "Let's ring the bell. That can be the key to a person-to-person connection."